A journalist married to a schoolteacher raising three young children, he is consumed daily by a job, paying rent, and the endless challenges of parenthood. Here is a guy who doesn't have hobbies or passions as much as he has roles: employee, employer, provider, husband, father, fixer of all that breaks. "Life is too much about compromise," he notes, a sentiment painfully familiar to many of us. For Heimbuch, hunting evolves into a departure from an existence devoted mainly to the well-being of others.
The story is funny, at times laugh-out-loud funny, without seeming silly or contrived. The simple truth of lines such as "like our toys, pheasant were imported from China," kept a smile on my face while an extremely witty, albeit fictional, exchange between Ted Turner and Mark Zuckerberg had me spitting milk through my nose.
"Hello, Ted? Hi, it's Mark Zuckerberg."
"Mark Zuckerberg. I created Facebook."
"Look, if this is one of them cults or Amway or some other foolish thing, I don't want any and Jane don't live here no more."The relatively one-sided conversation continues with Zuckerberg intent on shooting one of Turner's bison and Turner, well, just being Ted. Heimbuch possesses a well-grounded sense of humor and never falls into the trap of taking himself or the story too seriously.
The book offers a somewhat sobering glimpse into the declining number of hunters, one extending beyond the loss of habitat and the urbanization of America. Heimbuch experiences the difficulties facing a guy who hasn't grown up in the sport but would dearly like to give it a try, the closed doors and skepticism encountered by a grown man who wants to hunt. Were it not for several accommodating relatives this book might never have happened. Our sport is one that's difficult to figure out on your own, at least before you grow tired of getting skunked and give it up for something less cryptic.
Oddly, the father who gave him the shotgun and who is an avid lifelong hunter only plays a peripheral role in his son's passage into the shooting sports. We're left to wonder whether this was intentional or merely bad luck on the calendar, but Heimbuch leaves little doubt how much he wanted his father included.
TLC Book Tours who subsequently sent me a copy and included this review in a month-long virtual tour. At 324 pages it's an easy read and one any bird hunter would enjoy. George Bird Evans or Datus Proper it's not, nor is it meant to be. It's a modern story that most guys can relate to, and fortunately it happens to be about wingshooting.